Version tested: PC
The third instalment in the Far Cry series and the second one made by Ubisoft (the original creators were Crytek) was not on my radar at all. Despite all the marketing it got featuring the crazy over the top antagonist Vaas, it just didn’t draw me in. I almost didn’t get this game and you know, I’m glad I decided to get in the end. This is probably the biggest surprise for me this year. This review will only talk about the single player portion.
This open-world first-person shooter always throws some unexpected things in your way. Imagine you’re trying to stealthily attack an outpost and as you’re doing your recon, a bear out of nowhere starts attacking you, you whip your shotgun to kill it and now everyone in the outpost knows you’re there. Now that is some awesome shit and it’s things like that that keeps you on your toes at all times playing Far Cry 3.
This is a game that rewards exploration and it’s a freaking huge world to explore. With scripted and random events scattered all around the island, you can spend hours and not even play a single story mission. Although you’re playing the protagonist, the island is the focal point of Far Cry 3. It’s such an amazing beautiful place that feels so alive, animals grazing, predators hunting, pirates engaging in a firefight the rebels are just the few things that make you feel like you’re a part of a much bigger world.
The beginning however starts off a little slow with it’s tutorial sections, you get to pick leaves and hunt boars yay! But the game puts you in the driving seat after about an hour and that’s where the freedom kicks in. There’s crafting in Far Cry 3, yes you read that right, crafting. And it plays an extremely significant part in the gameplay.
You can carry a maximum of four guns at one time but you only start off being able to carry only one. You of course want to carry more right? Well, you gotta hunt specific animals and skin them to craft more holsters. Same goes with basically everything else, want more ammo? Skin a couple of boars. Want more room in your rucksake? Skin a couple of tapirs. Want a bigger wallet? Go after that ginormous bird that can kill you with its beak. You get the idea.
A word of advice, try to get as much of these out of the way as soon as possible. It’s very annoying when you can only carry one gun and you keep running out of space in your wallet and inventory. But after getting at least the 2nd last upgrade, the game really starts to hook you in and you wouldn’t want to leave. So do your work early and reap the benefits later.
There is more to crafting that lends itself to be called an FPS with RPG elements. There are skill trees too, 3 of them, each focusing on certain aspects of your character development. Skills like melee killing multiple enemies at once or holding your breath longer underwater are available for you to unlock and each unlocked skill will mark your arm with a small tattoo or tatau as it’s called by the citizens of the island (also known as the Rakyat) which makes up a much larger one.
Scattered throughout the island are radio towers which you need to climb ala Assassin’s Creed to reveal the surrounding area on the map as well as unlocking weapons and making them available for free in the stores. Some towers are pretty straightforward while others needs a little more maneuvering and once you’re up there, you can use ziplines to come back down.
The game is not perfect however; for starters, the menu is very annoying. It requires you to make unnecessary extra clicks, like choosing handguns won’t bring up the handgun list instantly but needs another click to ‘accept’ it. It’s a small thing but it will annoy you sooner or later. And that menu music that it plays, it just irritates the hell out of me.
One other annoyance are pop ups. Stuff just keeps popping up on the screen. It tells me things like go here to this mission, go on go on. And it’s just so frequent, it clutters the whole screen. Worst part? No option to turn off the damned thing. Another thing that pissed me off, it can be hard to loot or skin your spoils. You might have to dance around a dead carcass a few times before the game prompts you to hit the action button to interact. And it happens more often than it should.
Far Cry 3 contains a big beautiful world that seems like it has a life of its own and stuff are happening even when you’re not there. Not many open world games can give you that feeling. This is definitely worth your time and money and is one of the best games to come out this year. It’s available for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.